Preventing Teenage Pregnancy Essay
Preventing Teenage Pregnancy
In the article entitled “Teenage Pregnancy, The Case for Prevention: An Updated Analysis of Recent Trends & Federal Expenditures Associated with Teenage Pregnancy,” the author cites the effects of teenage pregnancy. Among which is failing to complete high school education and the teenage mothers’ tendency to suffer poorer health. In addition, there also is the probability that the child will become a teenage mother in the future as well.
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Everyone in touch with the society and aware of national current events would know that teenage or adolescent pregnancy has been one of the persistent problem in the United States. It has been noted that during the recent years, there has been a decline in number but the occurrence still remains significantly high. As stated: “Despite these declines, the United States continues to have the highest teen birth rate among all industrialized nations and higher teen birth rate than over 50 developing nations” (Feijoo 1).
Another manifestation of how grave the problem is is the huge economic cost that has been intended to support the families with a teen mother. The federal government was reported to have spent an estimate of $38.0 billion “federal fiscal year 1996 (the year for which the most recent data is available)” (Feijoo 1). However, the Advocates for Youth points out the lack of funding programs that would prevent the problem. In the same year, the amount allotted for prevention was only in the amount of $138.1 million. The group advocates prevention of adolescent pregnancy through specialized programs. These programs must also be studied, reviewed and proven scientifically in order to know their effectiveness.
In view of these preventive programs, the Advocates for Youth cites three (3) particular programs that can help in preventing teenage pregnancy. One is Sexual Education. The teenagers should be given information on the consequences of engaging in sex at an early age. They should be given awareness on contraception, as well as the probability of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Aside from sexual education, there should be Youth Development Programs. Such attempt to “meet the needs young people themselves identify: to have life skills, to be cared for and safe, to be valued and useful, and to be spiritually grounded.” (Feijoo 1). In programs such as these, they will learn to focus on other things such as improvement of their talents and skills. In their youth, such should be their focus, and not sexual activities. Moreover, these youth development programs will pave their way towards adulthood. Lastly, the group advocates for Access to Contraception. As is the case, where the youth are engaging in sex at an early age, easy and confidential access to contraception can help prevent teenage pregnancy. This also prevents them from getting HIV or STDs. Feijoo notes that “publicly funded contraceptive services annually avert about 154,700 births, 183,300 abortions, and 47,800 miscarriages or spontaneous abortions among teens” (1).
In this article, the author and the Advocates for Youth stress the importance of preventive programs in addressing teenage pregnancy. More funds should be allotted in “scientifically evaluating strategies that successfully reduce adolescent sexual risk behaviors and teenage pregnancy” (1). The government “has invested in the Adolescent Family Life Program which focuses on developing programs that promote abstinence as the only option to help young people avoid STDs, HIV, and teenage pregnancy,” (Feijoo 1) which should not be the case. Contraception is considered vital in countering the prevalence of adolescent pregnancy. Also as mentioned earlier, youth development programs may also help in curtailing teenage pregnancy. At the current status of this social problem, wherein it is difficult to discourage teens from engaging in sex, it would be imperative to deal with the problem at a different but feasible angle. This is to educate them fully on how to prevent teenage pregnancy, to be responsible and practice safe sex always.
Feijoo AN. Teenage Pregnancy, the Case for Prevention: An Updated Analysis of Recent Trends & Federal Expenditures Associated with Teenage Pregnancy. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, 1999. Retrieved 25 March 2009 from http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/PUBLICATIONS/coststudy/.